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Showing posts from 2017

‘Trouble in Mind’ – a review of a timeless US play

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Alice Childress’ play ‘Trouble in Mind’ is the ultimate conundrum for those of us who face racial discrimination and are forced to navigate the sometimes uncertain road of being black in a white world.
Do we laugh at the unfunny jokes sometimes made at our expense just to fit in and get by? Do we grit our teeth when the unsolicited gaze on our black bodies lingers way too long? What about when that unwanted hand rests lecherously on our knee with intentions to wander and we do nothing because we need this job to pay the bills? Or do we speak our minds regardless of the consequences, knowing that our hopes and dreams may fade and we will be that solitary but brave/foolish figure speaking out.
Directed by Laurence Boswell, this version of a Childress play reflects that internal struggle in the mind. But it also shows the external trouble that voicing these feelings can also cause through an arresting exploration of identity, power and ambition - set against a backdrop of racial stereoty…

Perspectives on mental health - your stories

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The 10th of October is World Mental Health Day and as part of the day, I wanted to share some of the mental health challenges people in our communities have told me over the years.

Podcast:
Mental health and poetry - one man's story

I start with a frank interview with aspiring poet Tetteh-Kwesi who lives with dyspraxia and undiagnosed psychosis. He talks about how he has had to grapple with understanding his conditions, navigating manhood, relationships and how he has been received by the NHS and the police. He talks about his love of poetry and how writing poems has helped his to navigate this often challenging world. Click here to listen to his story.


Blog:
Misdiagnosis and mental health - one mother's journey

In this piece, mum-of-two Jayne talks about her journey to discover why her perfect daughter Ann-Marie was initially misdiagnosed by the health authorities.

She also talks about her faith, determination and the foresight of a Ghanaian doctor resulted in a positive outcom…

(3) Africa 53: Neocolonialism, homosexuality and Africa

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Imagine the stories, the knowledge and the political, economic and social oversight you would have if – like lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade – you had travelled to 53 African countries? 
Dr Ogunade’s travels across the continent have been largely due to him working for the African Union. During his travels he has fought for the rights of Black Mauritanians to remain in their country after the government ordered their expulsion in the late 80s. 
He is now working to develop a watchdog body that aims to monitor and ensure the African Union delivers on its set objectives.
I spoke to him to learn more about his experiences, which has been broken down into three podcasts. In the final and third podcast instalment here, Dr Ogunade talks about the rise of Asian investment across Africa, the controversial topic of homosexuality and its place on the continent and his future business plans.
You can catch up on the previous two podcasts below. The first episode features Dr Ogunade who talks ab…

(2) Africa 53: Could we have a United States of Africa?

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...And do North Africans identify more with the Middle East or Africa? These are just some of the questions lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade fielded in this podcast. Dr Ogunade has managed to visit all but one of the African countries on the continent. His visits have largely been linked to his work with the African Union.

This podcast is the second in three installments and charts his experiences of visiting 53 African countries.

The music featured in this podcast is called 'Di Asempa' and comes from Atakora Manu & His Sound Engineers.

For the first podcast, click: 
Exploring the continent’s diversity
For more posts like this, click Vlog: Azania - exploring cultural unity across ancient Africa
And What is the capital of Africa

All comments are welcome on this page. If you are having trouble posting on the Google+ page, please share your views via Facebook here, tweet @MisBeee or on Instagram @misbeee

Please be aware that you may not reproduce, republish, modify or comme…

(1) Africa 53: Exploring the continent's diversity

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Too many times, I have heard the African continent described as a country with one homogeneous ethnic group. Considering that the continent is 30.4 million square metres (m2) in size, dwarfing Russia at 17.1m2, according to Nature America, and easily swallows up China, India, the US and most of Europe, isn't it about time her true might is reflected properly? I recently met a man who, through his work and in his spare time, has visited 53 of the 54 countries recognised by the African Union. It may have taken him 25 years but his experiences have helped to give him a more balanced appreciation of the continent, her people and the politics. In the first of three podcast instalments here, lawyer and journalist Dr Feyi Ogunade talks candidly about nation building and corruption and tells us some of his favourite cuisines and destinations. This podcast is based on questions from MisBeee Writes readers. Music in this podcast is called 'Di Asempa' and comes from Atakora Manu & H…

Brixton exhibition to showcase life of Ewe Royal in papers

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It is not everyday that you come across papers that give you some indication about your heritage and family history. This happened to one East London family that can trace their ancestry to a Ghanaian royal from the Ewe nation.

Ewe Fia  - Togbui Adamah II reigned from 1915 to 1963 - and thanks to a collection of official and personal letters and papers written by him and addressed to him, we know much more.

These papers - known as the Adamah Papers - were found by a family member and eventually donated to the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton, London.

This is likely to be the first time such a find has been discovered in this way, and provide great insight into what life was like during a time when present-day Ghana was under British colonial rule. These papers give us rare insight into what life was like for Fia Togubui Adamah II, the people he ruled and his intersection with neighbouring kings and the British.

Check out my interview with Natalie Fiawoo who is project managin…

Vlog: British-Nigerian author's books set for February 2018 revamp

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The son of the late British-Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta is leading a project to digitise and re-launch all her works. By February 2018, her most well-known novels: 'In the Ditch’, ‘The Bride Price’ and ‘The Slave' will be re-launched with more titles set to follow, Onwordi told MisBeee at the sidelines of literary festival Africa Writes 2017 earlier this month. The plan to digitise and republish Buchi's entire collection of over 20 books – complete with new book covers - emerged after the Ibusa-born London-based author passed away in January this year.

"..one of the consequences was a realisation that lots of people wanted to read her books but unfortunately some of her books have gone out of print,” said Sylvester. “And so the idea came to me, and the other people I have been collaborating with, that we should get together and form a publishing company to re-launch some of those editions.” Despite Buchi's work spanning almost 30 years, some of her books have f…

Ghanaian bamboo bike maker explores UK market

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The guy Ghanaians reportedly call the bamboo man came to London in June to promote his handmade bamboo bikes to the UK market. Kwabena Danso is the founder and ceo of Booomers - a range of bikes made in Ghana and designed to provide the healthier ones among us with a novel way of getting around. These bikes are also hoped to tackle Ghana's youth unemployment problem, and promote green transportation. 

Ok, so these bamboo bikes are not completely made of bamboo. The frames are, but not the wheels, handles or gears, and there is no bamboo helmet (yet?!). Nevertheless, the invention has been eagerly embraced by bike enthusiasts all over Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. Even the UK's Minister for Foreign Affairs and the figure behind the sponsored London bikes Boris Johnson also had a go on one when he paid a recent visit to Ghana. Danso hasn't stopped riding them since coming to London for the first time in early June and has been quick to extol the benefits of using this fo…

Books by Nigeria's Buchi Emecheta likely for digital revival

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I have been so enchanted by Nigerian author Buchi Emecheta OBE and her books since my early teens and sorely regretted missing an opportunity to see her in my 20s. So, in my 30s – some months after she had passed on – I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate her life at a tribute event. This event included an audience with her son Sylvester Onwordi, Diane Abbott - MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Margaret Busby OBE – Buchi's publisher who just happens to be the UK’s first Black female publisher.
Greenwich Book Festival I was surprised that the event – organised by the Greenwich Book Festival and chaired by writer Ade Solanke – wasn’t filled to the rafters. I was even more surprised that I was one of the youngest people there. I had assumed that, like me, Buchi’s books had been staple reading material for most Black people growing up. Over 40 years on and her books are still hugely relevant. They touch on themes related to racism, sexism, poverty, and the exploration of A…

MisBeee shares some Monday motivation with Abigale Otchere

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Morning All! I wanted to share with you my first podcast as an interviewee. 
Motivational coach and podcaster Abigale Otchere interviewed me about this MisBeee Writes blog, understanding identity growing up as a British-Ghanaian and what motivates me. 
She shares similar stories of inspiring people every Monday - so check her out - here
All comments are welcome on this page. If you are having trouble posting on the Google+ page, please share your views via Facebook here or tweet @MisBeee

Please be aware that you may not reproduce, republish, modify or commercially exploit this content without our prior written consent.

Ghana 60 years on through the eyes of a filmmaker

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I just came back from the Ghana 60 years on, mobilising Ghana's future event - staged at London university SOAS. In a nutshell, I would have to say that there was more politics going on behind the scenes than was discussed during the session. Serious egos bouncing off each other which meant there was NO REAL transformative discussion about Ghana at all.

The highlights for me were the way the filmmaker Paul Adom-Otchere structured the film 'From Gold Coast to Ghana' - around legal and constitutional milestones dating back to 6 March 1844 when part of modern-day Ghana came under British jurisdiction. I thought it was a simple way of crystallising and distilling a lot of our complex history and creating some sort of timeline of historical events and their significance. 


A legal route to Ghanaian history
But this did not go down well with everyone and one audience member took issue to what she thought was an omission of Ghana's rich heritage of tribes, cultures and female le…

Shakespeare and the Robben Island prisoners that inspired a play

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On the day that one of the last political prison mates of Nelson Mandela died, a South African play capturing life at the notorious Robben Island was released.
Written by Matthew Hahn, the play is based on selected texts from the complete works of William Shakespeare that became an important source of support and inspiration for inmates. The book - 'The Robben Island Shakespeare' (formerly known as The Robben Island Bible) was smuggled into the prison by the wife of political prisoner Sonny Venkatrathnam.
Sonny was one of 33 political prisoners sentenced to life after being convicted of sabotage in the Rivonia Trial. The trial took place in South Africa between 9 October 1963 and 12 June 1964 and resulted in those famous pictures we know showing Mandela and his comrades imprisoned on Robben Island.

Inspiring texts
Apart from a Bible, inmates were forbidden access to reading materials. But Sonny convinced one prison guard to allow him to bring in the Hindu holy book. But there w…

Opinion: Inspiring the next generation

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I initially didn't pay too much attention to the BBC news story about the 14 Black men studying at Cambridge University, (see here). If you hadn't heard, the guys represented Cambridge's small Black student population and the group shot (taken by a Black female Cambridge student) was aimed at encouraging more from the Black community to come forward and consider learning at the institution. The image subsequently went viral on 3 May 2017 and the woman behind the photograph told the BBC she had been inspired by a similar initiative launched by Yale University's Black male cohort. The reason I initially shrugged it off was because I didn't think - in this day and age - we had to keep flagging up milestones that should be available to all regardless of what they look like. But the more I read this news, the more it reminded me of my own experience of applying to the Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge) universities and why the achievements of these men still needs to be m…